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Summary

  1. 5.05pm: Greenock Ocean Terminal member's debate

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Ailsa Brown

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    And that ends our live coverage of the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 24 March 2015.

    Holyrood at night

    Remember you can watch all the video from today's business at BBC Scotland's Democracy Live.

    We will be back tomorrow at 2pm with Portfolio questions. Until then have a good night.

  2. Minister closes

    Transport and Islands Minister Derek Mackay
    Image caption: Transport and Islands Minister Derek Mackay

    Transport and Islands Minister Derek Mackay praises the work of Peel Ports at Greenock Ocean Terminal.

    Mr Mackay highlights the 56 ships coming to the port, including the Britannia visiting in July.

    The Queen officially named the new cruise ship Britannia earlier this month.
    Image caption: The Queen officially named the new cruise ship Britannia earlier this month.
  3. BACKGROUND:

    The owners of Greenock's cruise terminal have predicted that this year it will become the first Scottish port to handle 100,000 passengers.

    A total of 56 ships are expected to call at Greenock Ocean Terminal in 2015, bringing 108,866 passengers.

    Passenger numbers calling at Greenock have more than quadrupled over the past eight years.

    In 2007 just 20,253 passengers passed through the port, compared with nearly 92,700 in 2014.

    The Peel Ports-owned cruise terminal is expecting visits from giant passenger ships such as The Royal Princess and The Regal Princess.

    The Queen Mary II liner will also call at Greenock as part of Cunard's 175th anniversary celebrations.

  4. Overseas visitors

    The ITG comprises of people from Inverclyde who are passionate about where they stay; believes that Greenock is ideally placed for overseas visitors and people from Scotland sailing from their own local port, and Ms Goldie wishes everybody involved with the terminal every success.

  5. Queen Mary 2

    It has been predicted that the Inverclyde economy will receive an £8.7 million boost from the expected record-breaking number of visitors, according to the West of Scotland MSP.

    The cruise terminal, which is owned by Peel Ports, will be visited by ships such as The Royal Princess, The Regal Princess and the Queen Mary 2 as part of Cunard's 175th anniversary celebrations.

    Queen Mary 2
    Image caption: Queen Mary 2

    Ms Goldie says that breaking the 100,000-passenger barrier is a fantastic achievement and testament to the efforts made to enhance the experience of overseas visitors arriving at Greenock.

    The terminal works in partnership with the Inverclyde Tourist Group (ITG), which provides an ambassador service for the area by greeting passengers on arrival and offering what it considers vital information.

  6. 56 Ships

    The former Scottish Conservative leader says during the year, 56 ships, bringing a total of 108,866 passengers, are expected to call at Greenock Ocean Terminal and that this would represent seven more vessels than in 2014.

    Greenock Ocean Terminal

    She says that passenger numbers at Greenock have more than quadrupled over the last eight years.

  7. Greenock Ocean Terminal member's debate

    Conservative MSP Annabel Goldie is leading a member's debate on Greenock Ocean Terminal.

    Conservative MSP Annabel Goldie
    Image caption: Conservative MSP Annabel Goldie

    In her motion Ms Goldie says the owners of Greenock's cruise terminal have predicted that, in 2015, it will become the first port in Scotland to handle over 100,000 passengers, thus making it the busiest passenger port in the country.

  8. Decision time

    MSPs voting

    MSPs pass the amended motion from the post-study work visa, having passed Labour's amendment.

  9. Debate ends

    Mr Yousaf says he hopes, whatever the makeup of the next UK government, that it moves quickly on this issue.

    He says the Westminster approach is damaging Scotland.

    The minister draws the debate to a consensual close.

  10. Not Fresh Talent 2

    Mr Yousaf says credit must be given to the Fresh Talent initiative but stresses that the reintroduction of post-study work visas will not be Fresh Talent 2.

    He says international students raises the attainment for everyone in the class.

    The minister says he hopes the rolling back of the UK government from the principle in the Smith Commission, of some kind of visa being reintroduced, will be temporary, perhaps caused by the forthcoming general election.

  11. No 'silver bullet'

    Europe and International Development Minister Humza Yousaf is closing for the government.

    Europe and International Development Minister Humza Yousaf
    Image caption: Europe and International Development Minister Humza Yousaf

    Mr Yousaf says he accepts that even if the post-study work visa is reintroduced, it will not be a silver bullet.

  12. Colleges

    Mr Gray says it is not just our industries that compete globally but also our higher education institutions.

    He says in colleges there has been a drop of non-EU and EU students as well.

    Students

    Cutting the income to that sector cannot be done without having an impact.

  13. Widespread consensus

    Labour MSP Iain Gray details the widespread consensus behind the post-study work visas in academia and in business.

    Labour MSP Iain Gray
    Image caption: Labour MSP Iain Gray

    Mr Gray says the Fresh Talent initiative shows this can be achieved within the devolution settlement.

  14. '75% fall in EU students'

    Ms Scanlon points out some increases in international students enrolment.

    The Tory MSP says the 75% fall in EU students must be addressed by the minister in his summing up.

    Man in wheelchair

    She says she agrees the post-study work visa should be introduced but the Scottish government must address further education and the EU.

  15. 'Little bit painful'

    Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon says "It has been a little bit painful to have three hours of consensus this afternoon."

    Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon
    Image caption: Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon

    Ms Scanlon says bogus studying and colleges had to be addressed.

  16. 'Noticeable decline'

    SNP MSP Joan McAlpine says Scotland's higher education sector is a major exporter.

    SNP MSP Joan McAlpine
    Image caption: SNP MSP Joan McAlpine

    Ms McApine says the abolition of the post-study work visas led to a noticeable decline in international student numbers.

  17. 'Unpaid ambassadors'

    Labour MSP Hanzala Malik says it is absolutely crucial that we continue to encourage overseas students to come to study in Scotland.

    Mr Malik says the revenue that is stimulated in our industry, the fresh talent and young minds from overseas is crucial and it encourages unpaid ambassadors for Scotland.

    Labour MSP Hanzala Malik
    Image caption: Labour MSP Hanzala Malik

    Mr Malkik says MSPs must demand the UK government takes their demands seriously.

  18. Lib Dems

    Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur begins by expressing his "whole-hearted support to the reintroduction of the post-study work visa in Scotland".

    Mr McArthur says he is not clear about the minister's call for an immigration system for Scotland that meets its needs.

    Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur
    Image caption: Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur

    He says that argument is riddled with holes and he should not conflate changing the entire immigration system and the smaller request of reintroducing he visas.

  19. Bees

    SNP MSP Christian Allard MSP says inviting foreign students here helps us understand the world we live in.

    SNP MSP Christian Allard
    Image caption: SNP MSP Christian Allard

    He says international students are the bees pollinating, playing a critical role in helping our culture to flourish and our economies to grow and helping spread Scotland's seeds abroad.

  20. 'Welcome international students'

    Ms Smith says we must deploy a rhetoric that makes it abundantly clear that we welcome international students.

    Immigration policy must be balanced, wholly welcoming students but being punitive to anyone wishing to abuse the system, concludes the Tory MSP.

  21. 'Universities are right'

    Ms Smith says she is in no doubt at all the universities are right to be concerned about the situation,

    These concerns are completely justified, she says.

  22. Conservatives

    Scottish Conservative Liz Smith says her party will back the government's motion at decision time.

    Ms Smith praises the contribution international students make to Scotland.

    Conservative MSP Elizabeth Smith
    Image caption: Conservative MSP Elizabeth Smith

    She says we should be very concerned when we hear a chorus for change to the post-study work visa.

    The Scottish Conservatives have made clear these concerns to Theresa May, she says.

  23. 'Considerable contribution'

    International students make a considerable contribution to our economy and our society, says Ms Baker.

  24. Removal from migration targets

    Ms Baker calls for the immediate removal of international students from net migration targets.

  25. 'Stagnant international student numbers'

    Ms Baker says the launch of Fresh Talent was a Scottish solution to a Scottish problem.

    It ended due to bogus colleges and the consequences of targets to reduce immigration, says the Labour MSP.

    Labour MSP Claire Baker
    Image caption: Labour MSP Claire Baker

    She says since the removal of the visa, "Scotland has at best seen stagnant international student numbers".

  26. Labour

    Labour MSP Claire Baker leads the debate for her party.

    In her amendment Labour MSP Claire Baker says she recognises the success of Fresh Talent, launched by the then First Minister, Jack McConnell, in bringing considerable benefits to Scotland's economy by encouraging international students to work, study and stay in Scotland.

    Former First Minister Jack McConnell
    Image caption: Former First Minister Jack McConnell

    Ms Baker calls on the UK government to immediately remove university students from net migration targets to ensure that Scotland's universities can continue to compete in a growing global market.

  27. Reintroduce the post study work visas

    Mr Allan says the UK government is obsessed with bringing down the numbers on immigration.

    It is nonsense to drive away well qualified and young people from Scotland, when they are exactly the people the country needs, he says.

    He calls again for the reintroduction of the post-study work visas.

  28. BACKGROUND:

    In December, Home Secretary Theresa May gave her backing to a plan that would require all foreign students to leave the country at the end of their courses.

    Mrs May believes the current rules are being abused, with many students staying in the country illegally after their studies.

    Theresa May
    Image caption: Home Secretary Theresa May

    The plan put forward by the Conservatives would require anyone whose student visa expires to leave the country and re-apply if they want to continue their studies or take up graduate jobs.

    But Europe and International Development Minister Humza Yousaf said the Post-Study Work group report showed there was a "clear indication that business and education in Scotland are equally keen to see the reintroduction of post-study work visas."

  29. 'Scotland suffers'

    Mr Allan says he is disappointed the UK government has not made any substantive progress taking this issue forward.

    The UK government delays, Scotland suffers, he says.

  30. 'No doubt'

    The minister says there is no doubt in his mind a post study work visa would be in Scotland's interest.

    Learning Minister Alasdair Allan
    Image caption: Learning Minister Alasdair Allan

    Business and education leaders want post study work visa's - that is what they are telling the government he says.

  31. Call for reinstatement of visas

    Learning Minister Alasdair Allan says a post study work visa would allow recent international graduates to stay in Scotland and contribute to our economy and society.

    The Scottish government has consistently argued for reinstatement for reinstatement of the visas, he says.

  32. BACKGROUND: Post-study student visas

    The Scottish government called for powers to allow for the reintroduction of post-study work visas in Scotland in its submission to the Smith Commission.

    Graduates

    Post-study work visas were abolished by the UK government in 2012, and the SNP called for their reinstatement.

  33. Post-study student work motion

    In his motion, European and International Development Minister Humza Yousaf says welcomes the publication of the Post Study Work Working Group's report.

    Mr Yousaf says he agrees with business and education leaders who demand the return of the post-study work visa to Scotland.

    Different students
    Image caption: Students

    The minister highlights the contribution that international graduates make to the economy and society.

    Mr Yousaf also calls on the UK government to engage constructively on the Smith Commission finding that it should work with the Scottish government to explore schemes to allow international graduates to remain in Scotland.

  34. Post-study work visas

    Learning Minister Alasdair Allan is leading a debate on post-study work visas.

  35. Considering deadline extension

    Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur says access to broadband is far from universal, citing the Highlands and Islands and says the logistical challenge of getting to an area office is particularly difficult for island farmers.

    Mr McArthur says the feedback from his constituents is that the complexity of the Single Application Forms is a major problem.

    Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead says the overall policy is complex and all member states are finding it pretty challenging to implement the policy.

    The minister says the government is giving serious consideration to extending the deadline by a month.

  36. 'Not fit for purpose'

    Scottish Conservative MSP Alex Fergusson says people are calling the online service is "not fit for purpose" and asks what the Plan B the government has is.

    The minister says there are contingency plans in Scotland if the new system does not work, in the shape of paper forms.

    He says he does not doubt the frustration for farmers last week but says a number of fixes have been put in place and more are on the way.

  37. IT problems

    Ms Boyack asks when the technical problems with the online service will be fixed.

    The fixes have been put in place, although there are some remaining to be completed says the minister.

  38. BACKGROUND:

    The European Commission has extended the deadline for basic payment scheme applications until 15 June.

    In England a multi-million pound government IT system to process EU subsidy payments for farmers was largely abandoned after "performance problems".

    Cows

    The system will be re-launched next week with farmers asked to submit Basic Payment Scheme claims on paper forms.

    Farmers say they have struggled with the £154m website for months.

    Scotland has a separate Rural Payments Service.

  39. 'Major benefits'

    Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead says the new payments have had an extremely complex implementation and the online service has major benefits.

    Mr Lochhead encourages all farmers to register and use the service.

    Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead
    Image caption: Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead

    Ms Boyack says farmers have found the process has been "painstakingly slow" and difficult to use and hard for dyslexic farmers to use.

    The minister says the online service has only been up and running for just over a week and paper applications are still taken in Scotland.

  40. BACKGROUND:

    The window for submitting Single Application Forms (SAF) opened on Monday March 16, 2015 and will close on Friday May 15, 2015, as required by EU rules.

    To apply for CAP funding, farmers, crofters and land managers must register on the Scottish government's new Rural Payments and Services system, which replaces Rural Payments Online.

    Farmer

    According to the government, all the guidance farmers, crofters and land managers need to complete their SAF is now available on Rural Payments and Services.

  41. Topical questions begins

    Labour MSP Sarah Boyack asks the Scottish government how it is supporting the farming sector to transition to the new Rural Payments and Services system.

  42. Topical questions is next

    MSPs will shortly quiz Scottish government minister's at topical question time.

  43. Time for reflection

    Reverend Joe Barnard minister of Kiltarlity Free Church in Inverness-shire is leading time for reflection.

    Reverend Joe Barnard
    Image caption: Reverend Joe Barnard
  44. Coming up

    After topical questions, the Scottish government will lead a debate on post-study work visas.

    Graduates in hall

    Conservative MSP Annabel Goldie will then lead a debate on Greenock Ocean Terminal.

  45. Welcome back

    Welcome back to BBC Scotland's Democracy Live coverage of the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 24 March 2015.

    Holyrood
  46. Private session and lunch

    The committee moves into private session.

    We'll be back with time for reflection at 2pm.

  47. 'Travel' ok

    As the committee draws to a close Mr Mulholland QC says he does not think there is a problem with the definition of the word "travel" in the bill.

    Earlier witnesses had stressed trafficking goes on within Scotland and not just internationally and expressed concerns about the lack of clarity around the word travel.

    Mr Mulholland says the definition of travel does not require international travel but covers movement from one place to another.

  48. Child trafficking

    Mr Mulholland says the Scottish government's approach was to have an offence that applies across the board regardless of age in this legislation.

    The presumption of age may be helpful to have in the bill, as there are occasions where there is some dubiety about the age of a victim, if not known it should be presumed they are a child he says.

    Child trafficking

    He says he would not be upset if a specific child offence was put on the face of the bill, but if it is not, it would certainly be in his instructions.

  49. 'Huge matrix'

    You need a huge matrix of many, many organisations in the field to tackle trafficking, says Frank Mulholland QC .

    Then you take all the information in the field and let it inform my instructions, he says.

  50. 'Not just a Scottish problem'

    Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC says human trafficking is not just a Scottish problem, there is no point in just driving the problem down south, it must be addressed across the UK and beyond.

    "Hopefully this will make the UK and Ireland a bad place to do this type of business."

  51. Legislation helps

    The Human Trafficking Bill will help because it consolidates the field where there had been disparate legislation, Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland says.

  52. No prosecutions of victims

    Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland says: "I will not prosecute a victim of human trafficking that is not what it is all about."

  53. Guidelines published

    Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC says he published guidelines yesterday and he is happy to listen to feedback on them and suggestions to improve the instructions.

  54. No statutory defence

    Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland says putting a statutory defence on the face of the bill would lead to more injustices than if he issued instructions.

    The Lord Advocate says often victims do not know they are victims and a statutory defence places the onus on the accused to raise the defence.

    Rt. Hon. Frank Mulholland QC, Lord Advocate
    Image caption: Rt. Hon. Frank Mulholland QC, Lord Advocate

    He says instructions by himself, given to the prosecutor and police, would capture a lot more than putting a statutory defence on the face of the bill.

  55. The committee suspends briefly

    Finally the committee convener introduces Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC; Kathleen Harper from the National Sexual Crimes Unit and Catriona Dalrymple from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

    The wintesses
  56. Scottish Child Protection Committee Chairs Forum

    Moira McKinnon from the Scottish Child Protection Committee Chairs Forum points out the importance of the word travel in the legislation calling for a clear definition of what is meant in the case of trafficking children.

    Ms McKinnon says the word travel cannot just pertain to between countries but must also include within countries.

    Moira McKinnon from the Scottish Child Protection Committee Chairs Forum
    Image caption: Moira McKinnon from the Scottish Child Protection Committee Chairs Forum

    She says in the case of children it must be strongly recognised that they are moved around cities on a regular basis and we have to be aware of that.

  57. 'Deliberately broad'

    Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham from Police Scotland says the definition of travel is quite adequately described and is deliberately broad.

    Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham from Police Scotland
    Image caption: Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham from Police Scotland

    The definition of trafficking is broad and we would support that he says.

  58. BACKGROUND

    People who carry out human trafficking in Scotland could face life imprisonment under this new legislation to tackle the problem.

    The Scottish government published details of the bill aimed at protecting the victims and punishing the perpetrators of trafficking.

    Woman walking in shadows

    In 2013 there were 55 victims identified in Scotland.

    The new law will introduce a single human trafficking offence and increase the maximum penalty for offenders.

  59. 'Travel' concerns

    James Mulgrew from the Law Society of Scotland says there are some concerns that have been expressed about whether the definition complies with the European directive definition.

    James Mulgrew from the Law Society of Scotland
    Image caption: James Mulgrew from the Law Society of Scotland

    Mr Mulgrew says there are also concerns about the use of the word "travel" in the legislation.

  60. Next panel of witnesses

    Christine Grahame welcomes the next panel of witnesses James Wolffe QC from the Faculty of Advocates; James Mulgrew from Law Society of Scotland; Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham from Police Scotland and Moira McKinnon from Scottish Child Protection Committee Chairs Forum.

    The witnesses
  61. First evidence session concludes

    Siobhan Rearden says one of the problems comes from misunderstanding of different institutions around the devolution of powers to tackle trafficking, this could be tackled with better definitions in the bill and more clarity.

    That concludes the first evidence session.

  62. Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings (COE convention)

    The COE defines human trafficking as:

    "Trafficking in human beings" shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person, having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

    Council of Europe

    "Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs."

  63. Response of Amnesty International to the proposal for a Human Trafficking Bill

    "Amnesty International placed human trafficking in Scotland under the spotlight in our 2 publication 'Scotland's Slaves'.

    Amnesty International

    "Through this we urged the Scottish Government to take a lead on the implementation of the parts of Council of Europe's Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, for which it is responsible within its devolved powers."

    These include:

    • Article 10 on Identification of victims
    • Article 12 on Support and accommodation for victims
    • Article 16 on Non-Punishment of victims for crimes they have be coerced into
  64. Criminalisation

    Siobhan Riordan says human trafficking and prostitution are two very separate and complex issues.

    The Amnesty International spokesperson says the criminalisation of the purchase of sexual service is seen to reduce human trafficking, they need to ensure they do not drive the victims of trafficking underground making them more vulnerable to further exploitation.

    Ms Riordan says looking at criminalisation without taking into account a wide range of welfare issues would be remiss.

  65. 'Lack of awareness'

    Euan Page from the Equality and Human Rights Commission says a clearer definition within legislation would help agencies working to fight trafficking.

    Euan Page from the Equality and Human Rights Commission
    Image caption: Euan Page from the Equality and Human Rights Commission

    He says this is a complex hidden problem - a systematic problem of lack of awareness.

  66. 'Human rights approach'

    Siobhan Rearden says there is a lot more work to be done, but the start must be from a human rights approach from the victims point of view.

    Kirsty Thomson says a difficulty in trying to implement non-prosecution principles a difficulty is there is a lack of awareness amongst criminal defence lawyers.

  67. 'Horrific insult to horrific injury'

    Siobhan Rearden from Amnesty International Scotland says these victims have undergone "heinous" experiences and "criminalising victims adds horrific insult to horrific injury".

    The bill is intended to have a victim centred approach and the presumption of non-prosecution of victims should be part of the framework of the legislation, says Ms Rearden.

  68. Balance

    Kirsty Thomson from the Legal Services Agency says there is a balance between the burden on a victim and the additional protection they receive.

    Kirsty Thomson from the Legal Services Agency
    Image caption: Kirsty Thomson from the Legal Services Agency
  69. Lord Advocate's guidelines

    Independent MSP John Finnie asks about Lord Advocate's guidelines and the non-prosecution principle of victims.

    Siobhan Rearden from Amnesty International Scotland very much welcomes the bill and its intentions, however the duty on Lord Advocate to give guidance is not strong enough.

    Siobhan Rearden from Amnesty International Scotland
    Image caption: Siobhan Rearden from Amnesty International Scotland

    Ms Rearden says the principle of non-prosecution and the statutory offence should be on the face of the bill

    Euan Page from Equality and Human Rights agrees.

  70. Justice Committee begins

    Committee convener Christine Grahame introduces the first panel of witnesses Siobhan Rearden from Amnesty International Scotland, Euan Page from the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Kirsty Thomson from the Legal Services Agency will give evidence in the first session.

    Siobhan Rearden from Amnesty International Scotland, Euan Page from the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Kirsty Thomson from the Legal Services Agency
    Image caption: Siobhan Rearden from Amnesty International Scotland, Euan Page from the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Kirsty Thomson from the Legal Services Agency
  71. BACKGROUND: Human Trafficking Bill

    The legislation will:

    · create a single offence of human trafficking for all forms of exploitation for adults and children

    · strengthen the current slavery, servitude and forced labour offence by allowing the court to consider, in assessing whether a person has been a victim of an offence, the victim's characteristics such as age, physical or mental illness, disability or family relationships. The maximum penalty would be increased from 14 years to life imprisonment;

    Hands in handcuffs saying help me

    · establish statutory aggravations (a) to any criminal offence where it can be proved that the offence had a connection with a human trafficking background, and (b) where a human trafficking offence has been committed by a public official while acting, or purporting to act, in the course of the official's duties;

    · place a duty on the Lord Advocate to publish guidance about the prosecution of credible trafficking victims who have committed offences;

    · place a duty on Scottish Ministers to secure the provision of relevant

    immediate support and recovery services for adult victims of trafficking;

    · categorise all trafficking and exploitation offences as lifestyle offences in order to automatically trigger the confiscation procedures in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002;

    · create trafficking and exploitation prevention orders and risk orders;

    · place a duty on the Scottish Ministers to prepare, publish and regularly review and update a trafficking and exploitation strategy to be laid before the Parliament; and

    · place a duty on public bodies to provide anonymised data about potential human trafficking and exploitation victims to Police Scotland.

  72. Good morning

    Good morning and welcome to BBC Scotland's Democracy Live coverage of the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 24 March 2015.

    Holyrood